A REMINDER : Please do not expect mansions in heaven by Olatokunbo Odunuga

By Olatokunbo Odunuga
At the mere mention of “In my Father’s house……”, virtually everyone else can complete the verse with a thunderous”….there are many mansions”.
The most prevalent interpretation of this text is that in the afterlife, “mansions” will be allocated to Christians after the ‘rapture’; the sizes, the architectural grandeur, the number of rooms, and landscaping will depend on individual’s “merit”.
Some expect to receive state-of-the-art bungalows with say, 5 to 6 bedrooms; others anticipate duplexes with 6-8 bedrooms. This is the same as the idea of ‘my Benz is bigger than yours’ people have in our society.
Hence the objective materialistic concept we have here is exponentially projected to the hereafter. But I have some challenges with that concept. Because a mansion is a house, so “in my Father’s house, there are many mansions” would therefore imply “in my Father’s house, there are many houses”.

Mansions: John 14v2 misinterpreted

The misinterpretation of John 14: 2 is generally due to King James Version (KJV) translating the Greek word “monai” as “mansions” but it has been appropriately rendered as “abiding places”, “abodes”, “dwelling places”, rooms, etc in about 90% of over 1,200 other Bible versions to date. Verse 3 mentions of our Lord going to prepare a place for us; after that, He would return to take us with Him.
2.0 It’s puzzling to me that our Lord who re-created the entire Universe and all within it in one week hasn’t yet been able to complete the ‘mansions’ in 2,000+ years. I indicated “re-created” in the previous sentence because the creation of the universe in Genesis 1:1 was about 13.7 billion years ago according to scientific derivation.
With the rebellion of Satan and a third of the angelic host, the original creation was destroyed by God and the Spirit’s brooding over the deep in verse 2b was for the purpose of recreation or restoration at about 6,000 years ago.
For emphasis, what was rendered “was void’ ought to be “became void”. But alas for the translational error! In essence, God who is perfect and purposeful didn’t create the earth waste and formless at inception.
Some Bible versions have realized this omission now put “became” as footnote as alternative rendering. In essence, the earth became void and waste as a result of judgement; indeed it was not so originally as testified in Isaiah 45: 18: ” For this is what the Lord says… ..He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited”- NIV
“….He did not create it a chaos”- RSV
“….He did not create it without order…”- NET

God abides in us

3.0 To articulate my thought, I will like to refer to a question someone asked me years back: what does it mean by ”God abiding in us” and “we abiding in God”? In response, I drew from John 14:20, 17: 21. I’m sure we all realize that abiding in God is not synonymous with being inside a Church building.
In this Christian Era, God, in its strict sense, no longer dwells in temples or buildings constructed by human hands ( or ingenuity)-Acts 7:48; 17: 24, though the architectural edifices or structures erected by worshippers all over the world may be considered conducive or desirable for convenience.
Personally, I have no challenge with purpose-built structures. However, we should take cognizance of 1 kings 8: 27; Isaiah 66 :1 which implies that God does not quite regard investments in church buildings, so to say, as He does people who tremble at His word. It is men who put so much premium on such
4.0 It may sound incredible that for over two hundred years after the day of Pentecost, there was no single church building erected on the face of the earth until the Dura- Europos Church in Syria built between 233 and 256 AD.
About 70 years after, Constantine, the first Roman emperor to be a “Christian” commenced such projects in the 4th century after Christ, with cathedrals in Rome, i.e. St. Peter’s Basilica; Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and several others, especially in Constantinople, the new capital city developed by the emperor.
Prior to this, the early Christians were having fellowship generally in brethren’s homes or other facilities. In passing, I want to share David Dyer’s perspectives on John 14: 2 in his wonderful 85-page book THE HIDDEN GOSPEL Quote “…Let us look at the translation of just one word of only one verse of the New Testament which had powerfully influenced millions of believers around the world to believe in a fairy tale gospel… ..this verse led countless believers to hope for a mansion and other riches ‘when they get to heaven’……

No one will get a mansion

But when we take a closer look at the scriptures, we find that there will be no mansions. That’s right! No one will ever get a mansion. They don’t exist and never will exist. The Greek word here means ‘dwelling places, it does not mean palace or mansion…Jesus was speaking of our new glorified bodies, not mansions” On a side note, I want to recommend David Dyer’s free books to my friends, especially ‘Let My People Go’.
5.0 With these backdrops, God confirms in 1 Cor. 3: 16-19; 2 Cor. 6:16 where He’d chosen to live: “….For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will live in them…..’ Solomon’s temple was a type, a shadow of the reality, which has now manifested.
Even Solomon himself, who built the most magnificent gold-laden cathedral acknowledged in the above 1 Kings 8 :27- “God does not really live on the earth. Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you (God), how much less this temple l have built”.

The dwelling place of God

On a personal note, l have worshipped in magnificent cathedrals nearly in all the continents, but strangely enough, the less grandiose ones seem to have positively impacted me more. In essence, it is life impartation emanating from within the four walls of the place of worship/fellowship that ultimately touches the inner man, not the superfluity of architectural grandeur.
Witness Lee pointed Isaiah 57:15 as showing that the dwelling place God desires is a group of people in whom to tabernacle. God intends to have a dwelling place in the universe….in which God is built into man, and man is built into God, so that God and man, man and God can be a mutual abode to one another.
This is what our Lord put across in John 14: 2, 20, 23; 15 :4; 1John 4 :13. It is like when sponge or foam is in the water. If you squeeze the foam or sponge, water oozes out. As the foam floats, it is inside the water and the water is also inside it.
6.0 From the foregoing, John 14:2 is about believers being the many abodes in our Father’s house, the Body of Christ. Thus in John 2:19, when Jesus said “Destroy this temple and in three days, I’ll raise it up, the Jewish leaders were confused, even confounded as expressed in John 2 :20 imagining physical building whereas, as shortly stated in John 2:21, Jesus was speaking about the temple of His body, the dwelling-place of God.
Our God seems more desirous of our being His embodiment here on earth than being future allottees of mansions in Heaven. It doesn’t appear as if the Angels who had been serving God faithfully for zillions of years are yet provided with mansions.
In fact, I doubt if luxuriously furnished mansions with settees, beds, and kitchens, etc will be of any use to glorified (spiritual) bodies. Spirit doesn’t have the same faculties as the Soul’s Will+Mind+Emotion, hence cannot rapport or identify with physical appurtenances or appendages.
Of course, God who does not dwell in structures made with human hands is not likely to be gathering cement, sand, granite, woods, etc to construct same in the New Jerusalem! We are often prone to oversight, according to Hank Hanegraaff, that “the language of scriptures is a heavenly condescension of our infinite God”.
Beloved, therefore let Christ dwelling in us now be our hope of future glory (Col. 1: 27), for us to reign as over-comers in the Millennial Kingdom. I believe that love for God, not mansions like the “seventy-two virgins” or other ephemeral incentives, should be our motivation to be all-out for Him. Shalom!
Pastor Odunuga is an elder in the Redeemed Christian Church of God

Related posts

Digital Bible VS hard copy Bible: Need for more interrogation

IT IS FINISHED: A Message of Hope to a Despondent Nation @ Easter

Unveiling the Power of Self-Directed Learning: A Critical Analysis